Allocations will be made to 98 universities with an established track record in working with business, public sector and not-for-profit organisations. To release their funds, institutions must provide a strategy to be approved by HEFCE.
Funding will continue to support a wide range of knowledge exchange (See note 2) activities, with individual universities determining the most effective ways to interact with their chosen partners in business or wider society. Funding will also support staff and student entrepreneurship, including the development of social enterprises.
The funds will build on success to date by the higher education sector in embedding knowledge exchange as a core mission. HEFCE started funding for knowledge exchange in 1999, and the higher education sector has made steady progress over the last decade in changing culture and developing capacity to work with businesses and the public and third sectors (See note 3). The Government has endorsed this progress and, despite the current tighter funding times, has agreed to continue HEIF at the same level from the last spending period (£150 million per year).
Below we provide examples of successful initiatives, supported by current HEIF to address the challenges of the economy and involving Coventry University, Imperial College London, Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, the London College of Fashion, and the Universities of Hull, Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham.
Sir Alan Langlands, Chief Executive of HEFCE, said:
'The Government's commitment to maintain Higher Education Innovation Funding from the last spending round, and to ensure stability over four years, is most welcome. HEFCE has been actively supporting knowledge exchange since 1999 and aims to make this a broad agenda that unlocks potential from the higher education sector to help our economy and society. It is, though, individual leaders of universities, and their staff, who have carried us through to success over the last decade. Universities will have a vital role to play in economic recovery and growth and achieve a significant return on this important public investment, with the aim to improve in future on the return achieved to date on HEIF of every £1 achieving a return of between £5 and £7.'
David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, said:
'It is vital for our future economic growth that business and universities work closely together. That is why we are maintaining Higher Education Innovation Funding over the spending review period, providing further incentives for universities to work better with business. It is a vote of confidence in our higher education institutions and a major investment in growth.'
David Eyton, Global Head of Research and Technology at BP, said:
'Global companies like BP recognise the UK's research and higher education strengths and our R&D and graduate recruitment strategies reflect this. We need to work together to grow the wealth and jobs of this country. I welcome then the Government's endorsement of the importance of relationships between universities and business through providing £600 million to support HE innovation.' (see note 4).